The Indian team has been on a fantastic run on home soil and has not lost a series since they last lost the ODI series to South Africa in 2015. The Indian team is currently ranked number one in the Test format and are tied at the top spot with South Africa in the ODI series. Sri Lanka’ tour of India is about to begin, and both the teams are looking forward to getting the better of each other in the reverse fixture.
The two teams last met when India toured to the island nation and completely decimated the Sri Lanka team at their home and whitewashed the hosts in all the three formats, leading to a 9-0 victory throughout the tour.
The Indian team has called back the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for the upcoming Test series after the duo was dropped from the team after the last Test series India played against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Selectors quoted that the two spinners have been rested after the heavy workload and the duo was not picked up for the limited overs series against Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.
Wriddhiman Saha who is India’s first choice wicket-keeper batsman in Tests will also return to the side the last playing for India in the Test series against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Saha played in the Ranji Trophy for Bengal in the break from international cricket and scored 97 runs in the last match he played against Vidarbha.
Before India’s first practice session Saha spoke to the media and said that the team’s current focus is to win the first Test and not the away tour to South Africa:
“We are yet to see the wicket but the first target is to win the first Test and get momentum to win the series, Every match is important and poses a different challenge, there’s nothing like preparation. We will go match by match. If we do better here then we will think of the SA series.”
He also said that keeping to Ashwin is a big challenge because of his variations:
“Ashwin is ahead of others. He has got many variations, also the length varies, so it’s tough against him. He has more variation than (Ravindra) Jadeja, Kuldeep (Yadav). We have played many matches in Ranji, India A and during practice. The more you keep, the better idea you develop. It becomes easier after a point. I’ve always played with them in all my 28 Tests.”
Talking about how he picks the variations bowled by the spinners he said:
“Your 50 per cent job is done mainly by reading the hand at the point of release then you see how it bounces off the pitch and turns. The challenge is to hold on to all the balls, even if it turns or not.”
Amongst the fast bowlers, he picked Ishant Sharma and Md. Shami who pose a challenge for him:
“The ball wobbles after it goes past and it becomes tough for the wicketkeepers too. But being swing bowlers, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar there’s not much of a problem.”